Suffolk seedsman Mr Fothergill’s prides itself on the quality of its seeds – though not, normally, to the extent of running germination trials on unopened, out-of-date packets. Perhaps it should: an eagle-eyed member of staff recently noticed that amongst a few out-of-date and slightly damaged-by-damp packets of sweet pea which had been discarded, one had produced a fine crop of seedlings. “We worked out that the seeds in the packet were five years old, but it looks as though every one has grown and looks really healthy. Two of us have taken them home to grow in our gardens and, hopefully, produce a wonderful display,” says the firm’s Rachel Cole.
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